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Iowa Infrastructure: ASCE 2015 Report Card

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS
IOWA SECTION

IOWA’S 2015 GRADE: C –

Iowa Infrastructure Report Card 2015Why a 2015 Report Card for Iowa’s Infrastructure?

The 2015 Report Card for Iowa’s Infrastructure has been prepared to acquaint Iowans with the extent, condition and importance of the capital assets that support modern life. It is hoped that this information, along with the grades, will encourage awareness of and concern for these often under-appreciated facilities. Iowa’s ASCE members hope that the grades will alert citizens, media agencies, business leaders, and elected officials to the needs of the infrastructure and induce a commitment to giving it proper care and upkeep. Lastly, the grades provide a benchmark for detecting, in the future, how things are trending.

The 2015 Report Card for Iowa’s Infrastructure contains one grade B, seven Cs, and three Ds. Readers are invited to consider if this is good enough or if Iowa ought to strive for better scores. Our daily lives and economic activities depend on the safe, reliable, taken-for-granted presence of infrastructure. If we make the commitment to improve the grades, we’ll experience benefits in both personal and business activities. If we let the facilities’ adequacy decline, we’ll face higher costs with less reliability. What sort of future do we want and what path should be taken to arrive there?

Aviation: C- Pages 1 – 4

Iowa’s air transportation capacity, operations, and resilience are currently in good standing; however, the condition, funding, and innovation were found only to be average. Safety and future needs are concerning with the lack of a long-term funding strategy.

Section author: Rob Garber, Project Manager, CGA Associates, Marshalltown

Rail: C Pages 5 – 9

Iowa’s freight rail system features good capacity, condition, operations, and maintenance for current traffic levels. The outlook is for fewer but larger shipping points with a smaller rail system as funding to maintain the full current network is inadequate in the long-term. Passenger rail languishes at a minimal service level.

Section author: Steve De Vries, Executive Director, Iowa County Engineers Association Service Bureau, Des Moines

Inland Waterways: D Pages 10 – 12

Iowa’s two river inland waterway transportation system is safe, efficient, and sustainable. But with no long-term funding for maintenance or modernization its future serviceability and capacity will be constrained.

Section author: Andy McCoy, Project Manager, HDR, Inc., Des Moines

Roads: C- Pages 13 – 20

Traffic volumes have been increasing on Iowa roads but reduced purchasing power has left road agencies unable to prevent loss of condition. The system requires at least an additional $215 million per year to address its most critical needs. The road use tax funding mechanism is losing its efficacy so a search is on for methods more appropriate to the times.

Section author: Dave Mulholland, Transportation Engineer, Ames
Co-author: Mark Crawford, Project Manager, CGA Engineering, Marshalltown

Bridges: D+ Pages 21 – 25

One in every five bridges in Iowa is rated structurally deficient giving our state the third worst rating in the nation. Reducing the number of structurally deficient bridges is a priority of the IDOT, Counties and Cities. While there has been progress, the pace of repair and replacement must be quickened if the backlog is to be noticeably reduced. Road agencies are exploring accelerated construction techniques to as one way to speed things up.

Section author: Dave Mulholland, Transportation Engineer, Ames
Co-author: Mike Vander Wert, President, Calhoun-Burns & Associates, Inc., West Des Moines

Dams: D Pages 26 – 28

Iowa dams are struggling due to a lack of funding, not only for maintenance and repair, but for safety programs as well. With nearly 50% of the dams privately owned in the state, private property owners are faced with the reality of self-funding any needed dam maintenance or improvement projects as there are no state loan or grant programs for dam owners.

Solid Waste: B+ Pages 45 – 48

Iowa is performing well in the area of solid waste; however, several new techniques and technologies provide an opportunity to further enhance solid waste management in the state. Continued waste reduction education and increased diversion opportunities would benefit the state as well.

Section author: Aaron Granquist, Project Manager, McClure Engineering, North Liberty
Co-author: Aaron Moniza, Lead Civil Engineer, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC, Cedar Rapids
Co-author: Riley Quinn, Civil Engineer, Shive-Hattery, Inc., West Des Moines

Levees: C- Pages 29 – 32

The majority of Iowa’s levees are currently functioning adequately with typical stream flows, but issues frequently occur when design flows are experienced. There appears to be thorough oversight of the permitting process; however, there is no follow-up maintenance program at the state level for constructed levees.

Section author: Kari Sebern, Principal, Sebern Structural, Panora

Drinking Water: C+ Pages 33 – 36

Iowa’s drinking water supply infrastructure is in relatively good condition, has adequate capacity, and a good safety record. Funding for system operation and maintenance is generally sufficient, but additional revenue is needed to enable water line replacement and treatment plant modernization. Water ultilities are adopting computerized control systems to improve quality and reliability. Nitrates in surface water require expensive additional treatment.

Section author: Steve De Vries, Executive Director, Iowa County Engineers Association Service Bureau, Des Moines
With special assistance from John Dunn, City of Ames

Wastewater: C- Pages 37 – 40

Iowa has an aging wastewater infrastructure which requires significant funding. In the long-term, the state must modernize and build new facilities in a targeted and strategic manner. By employing strategies to use every dollar resourcefully and by deploying creative solutions to infrastructure development, the state can implement the right projects in an efficient and economical manner.

Section author: David Claman, Chief Hydraulics Engineer, Ames

Electrical Energy: C Pages 41 – 44

Upgrading and expanding existing transmission and distribution infrastructure, along with a rational implementation of existing and new regulations, is vital to preserving the continued dependability of electrical power in Iowa and protecting grid stability and resilience. The need for a national energy plan is great.

Section author: Michael Shimkus, Staff Engineer, WHKS, Ames

Solid Waste: B+ Pages 45 – 48

Iowa is performing well in the area of solid waste; however, several new techniques and technologies provide an opportunity to further enhance solid waste management in the state. Continued waste reduction education and increased diversion opportunities would benefit the state as well.

Section author: Aaron Granquist, Project Manager, McClure Engineering, North Liberty
Co-author: Aaron Moniza, Lead Civil Engineer, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC, Cedar Rapids
Co-author: Riley Quinn, Civil Engineer, Shive-Hattery, Inc., West Des Moines

Download full version (PDF) – Iowa Infrastructure: 2015 Report Card

About The American Society of Civil Engineers, Iowa Section
www.iowaasce.org
We are a community, over 900 strong, of like-minded individuals passionate about the field of Civil Engineering and determined to make the world around us a better place through our service.”

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